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Systematic reviews: Screen on title and abstract

Screening on title and abstract

We strongly recommend screening records in Covidence systematic review software. This web based program makes the process very quick and easy, as it can be done anywhere with internet access. Reviewers are blinded to other votes.

This is how screening looks in Covidence:

Covidence records statistics of each process in accordance with the PRISMA flow chart so that you don't have to.

Screening on title and abstract - tips to speed up the process

Change display to see more results

  • Defaults to 25 results at a time
  • Display can be changed to show 100 results at a time
  • Saves refreshing / waiting for more results to load if you are screening quickly

Search for words likely to indicate an irrelevant article

Resolving conflicts in screening

When two reviewers disagree on whether to include or exclude a record during screening there needs to be a way to break the tie. Common methods include:

  • A third reviewer resolves the conflict - this is often a supervisor or senior member of the team who has limited time for the usual screening
  • Two (or more) reviewers discuss each conflict until agreement is reached

Whichever method you use, it needs to be consistent and described as part of the methodology.

This is how it looks in Covidence:


Clicking on "Resolve conflicts" takes you to this screen:

Guide Author

Helen Wilding, Senior Research Librarian

Carl de Gruchy Library, St Vincent's Hospital Melbourne

Literature Searching, Systematic Reviews, Mental Health liaison 
Thursdays, Fridays & alternate Wednesdays
Helen's profile | Researchgate | Orcid